NEW YORK, March 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 300+ media industry executives gathered for the 12th Annual Horowitz Forum on Multicultural Media for Multicultural America at the New York Marriott Marquis on March 21. Under the conference theme, "The Power of Community," speakers and panelists drew the intimate connection between the mechanisms of social media and programming, advertising, and marketing to America's Hispanic, African American, and Asian communities.
Adriana Waterston, VP of Marketing and Business Development at research company Horowitz Associates, set the tone of the event with a 360-degree view of multicultural consumers and their television, alternative platform, mobile, and social media behaviors. Data from the quantitative tracking survey State of Cable and Digital Media: Multicultural; Viewing the Viewer, an in-home videography; and the Consumer Voice Community market research online community revealed that the urban multicultural market now define American culture and entertainment. Waterston discussed the impact of alternative platforms and social media on how viewers experience media today, noting that the personal, social, and business consequence of today's media environment is the development of new communities of empowered viewers increasingly concerned about diversity and representation in mainstream media. "Multicultural audiences and all audiences literally 'Occupy Media', commanding new-found control over viewing and over their cultural identities and connections," Waterston said about the message in her data for programmers and service providers.
Manuel Abud, President of Telemundo Station Group, delivered a dynamic keynote about the broadcaster's commitment to serving the Latino audience at the local, community level—not only through top-notch local reporting but through community involvement. According to Abud, NBCUniversal's recent merger with Comcast will mean substantial investments in Telemundo's owned and operated local stations, allowing them to expand even further on its local offerings.
The event featured three panels, including one with many U.S. multichannel distributors represented. Ruben Mendiola, the recently-appointed VP & General Manager of Multicultural Video Services for Comcast, Charter's David Saldarriaga, and Verizon FiOS' Michelle Webb discussed the challenges of managing bandwidth while striving to ensure diversity in programming offerings. Mendiola explained that whether a network can commit to post-launch consumer marketing will play a key role in carriage decisions. The panel also included three multicultural programmers: Magic Johnson's new network Aspire; Blue Ocean Network, with programming in English from and about China; and Zee TV, offering South Asian content. A second panel featuring major networks Viacom Media Networks and ESPN, and major advertisers AARP and Cricket Communications touched upon ongoing and forecasted structural change including staff consolidation and integration at their companies, their agencies and their media to meet the reality of an integrated multicultural market place. A programming showcase featured content from Ella, Blue Ocean Network, ESPN, Imagina US, mun2, Telemundo, TV One, TV5MONDE, and Zee TV, among others.